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Interviews

Canonical on Path to IPO as Ubuntu Unity Linux Desktop Gets Ditched

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Interviews
Ubuntu

In October 2010, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu open-source operating system and CEO of Canonical, announced his grand plan to build a converged Linux desktop that would work on mobile devices, desktops and even TVs. He called the effort "Unity" and poured significant financial resources into it.

Seven years later, the Unity dream is dead.

On Oct. 19, Ubuntu 17.10 was released as the first Ubuntu Linux version since 2010 that didn't use Unity as the default Linux desktop. In a video interview with eWEEK, Shuttleworth details the rationale behind his decision to cancel Unity and why he has now put his company on the path toward an initial public offering (IPO).

Because Ubuntu has moved into the mainstream in a bunch of areas, including the cloud, he said some of the things his company had been doing were never going to be commercially sustainable.

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Also: Ubuntu 17.10 delivers new desktop and cloud enhancements

Running Android on Top of a Linux Graphics Stack

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Android
Linux
Interviews

Traditional Linux graphics systems (like X11) mostly did not use planes. But modern graphics systems like Android and Wayland can take full advantage of it.

Android has the most mature implementation of plane support in HWComposer, and its graphics stack is a bit different from the usual Linux desktop graphics stack. On desktops, the typical compositor just uses the GPU for all composition, because this is the only thing that exists on the desktop.

Most embedded and mobile chips have specialized 2D composition hardware that Android is designed around. The way this is done is by dividing the things that are displayed into layers, and then intelligently feeding the layers to hardware that is optimized to handle layers. This frees up the GPU to work on the things you actually care about, while at the same time, it lets hardware that is more efficient do what it does best.

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Dedoimedo interviews: Xfce team

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GNU
Linux
Interviews

Hi, I'm Sean! I'm an Xfce core developer, Xubuntu Technical Lead, and long-time Linux user. I love solving problems ... and maintaining a desktop environment means there's no shortage of those.

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An Interview With Neil McGovern, GNOME Foundation Executive Director: “Software Freedom, Users, And Technical Excellence Are Our 3 Pillars”

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Interviews
GNOME

Earlier this year in February, the GNOME Foundation announced the appointment of Neil McGovern as its new Executive Director. He is a well-known figure in Free Software community; he served as Debian Project Leader from 2014-15. The GNOME Project, apart from developing GNOME desktop, also takes care of multiple other emerging projects.

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Also: Travel to Berlin

How OpenBSD and Linux Mitigate Security Bugs

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Linux
Interviews

The talk will focus on two similar solutions implemented in Linux and OpenBSD kernels, designed to prevent a program from calling syscalls they should not call to improve security of software.

In both kernels (Linux and OpenBSD), unwanted syscalls can be blocked and the offending program terminated, but there are some differences between Linux and OpenBSD’s solution of the problem.

During my talk, I will analyze the differences between two similar techniques that are present in Linux and OpenBSD kernels that are used to mitigate security bugs (that could be used to attack software and escalate privileges on a machine).

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In pursuit of Purism

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GNU
Linux
Interviews

For GNU/Linux users wanting a laptop, it’s almost always easier to find the hardware you want and then install the distro of your choice – perhaps with some muttering about the ‘Windows tax’, or even making a stand and getting the Microsoft licence portion of the price refunded.

However, as Purism puts it: “The model of ‘buy hardware, install free software’ is ageing, due primarily to the fact that there is a growing cryptographic bond between proprietary non-free signed binaries and the hardware that they run on.”

There are one or two laptops available from manufacturers with Ubuntu pre-installed, although Dell doesn’t always make it easy to find them, and a few resellers who’ll do the install for you, such as System76 – but the sad truth is that most laptop manufacturers do not care about software freedom, at least not enough to take a risk in standing out from the herd.

If they don’t care, that’s probably because the public don’t exercise themselves much over the issue – although awareness of free and open source software is slowly growing, and the Raspberry Pi has put GNU/Linux into the hands of a new generation.

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Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf and More Blockchain

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Interviews
OSS

Open source-based business lessons from a seasoned CEO

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Interviews
OSS

The default now is to build from open and in the open. So that's a positive. The downside is that by open source being the default, we may be getting a little lazy. If you remember back 5-10 years, open sourcing was a big deal, and it forced a level of rigor that may have led, in some cases, to founders and early investors taking better approaches to building their company—for example, shifting towards SaaS wherever possible, in part because of the ability to demonstrate clear value versus their own open source.

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Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

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Interviews
Ubuntu

In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

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Mark Shuttleworth Interviewed on BBC News

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Interviews
Ubuntu

It’s not everyday that you get to tune in to mainstream TV news and see Mark Shuttleworth on screen, chatting about life aboard the International Space Station.

It certainly added a bit of pep to my cornflakes this morning!

The Ubuntu founder was being interviewed by BBC Business Live‘s Susannah Streeter and Sally Bundock as part of their ‘Inside Track’ strand which focuses on well-known business figures and entrepreneurs.

Despite introducing him as “one of the world’s most influential tech thinkers” and an “outspoken advocate of open-source software” the presenters (understandably) couldn’t resist probing Shuttleworth about his time in space.
bbc interview mark shuttleworth

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OSS Leftovers

  • Canada’s Spy Agency Releases its Cyber-Defense Tool for Public
  • Canadian govt spooks open source anti-malware analytics tool
    The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said the AssemblyLine tool is designed to analyse large volumes of files, and can automatically rebalance workloads.
  • Microservices served on blockchain, in open source
    Cloud application marketplace company Wireline is working with open source blockchain project developer Qtum The new union is intended to provide a conduit to consuming microservices at [web] scale using blockchain at the core. As we know, microservices offer the ability to create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without having to manage the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. [...] The Qtum a blockchain application platform combines the functions of Bitcoin Core, an account abstraction layer allowing for multiple virtual machines and a proof-of-stake consensus protocol aimed at tackling industry-use cases. The Qtum Foundation, headquartered in Singapore, is the decision-making body that drives the project’s development.
  • Rendering HTML5 video in Servo with GStreamer
    At the Web Engines Hackfest in A Coruña at the beginning of October 2017, I was working on adding some proof-of-concept code to Servo to render HTML5 videos with GStreamer. For the impatient, the results can be seen in this video here
  • Working Intel CET Bits Now Land In GCC8
    A few days back I wrote about Intel's work on Control-flow Enforcement Technology beginning to land in GCC. This "CET" work for future Intel CPUs has now landed in full for GCC 8. The bits wiring up this control-flow instrumentation and enforcement support are now all present in mainline GCC SVN/Git for next year's GCC 8.1 release.
  • Using Gitea and/or Github to host blog comments
    After having moved from FSFE’s wordpress instance I thought long about whether I still want to have comments on the new blog. And how I would be able to do it with a statically generated site. I think I have found/created a pretty good solution that I document below.

Security Leftovers

  • Where Did That Software Come From?
    The article explores how cryptography, especially hashing and code signing, can be use to establish the source and integrity. It examines how source code control systems and automated build systems are a key part of the software provenance story. (Provenance means “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.” It is increasingly being applied to software.)
  • Judge: MalwareTech is no longer under curfew, GPS monitoring [Updated]
    A judge in Milwaukee has modified the pre-trial release conditions of Marcus Hutchins, also known online as "MalwareTech," who was indicted two months ago on federal criminal charges. Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring.
  • [Older] Leicester teen tries to hack CIA and FBI chiefs' computers
    A teenager attempted to hack senior US government officials' computers from his home. Kane Gamble, 18, from Coalville, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to computer hacking. His targets included the then CIA director John Brennan and former FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano.

Debian: pk4, Freexian and More

Kernel and Graphics: ZenStates, AMDGPU, RADV, Vulkan, NVIDIA

  • ZenStates Allows Adjusting Zen P-States, Other Tweaking Under Linux
    ZenStates is an independent effort to offer P-States-based overclocking from the Linux desktop of AMD Ryzen processors and other tuning. ZenStates-Linux is an open-source Python script inspired by some available Windows programs for offering Ryzen/Zen CPU overclocking from the desktop by manipulating the performance states of the processor.
  • AMDGPU DC Gets A Final Batch Of Changes Before Linux 4.15
    The AMDGPU DC display code has a final batch of feature updates that were sent in this weekend for DRM-Next staging and is the last set besides fixes for the "DC" code for the 4.15 target.
  • Valve Developer Lands VK_EXT_global_priority For RADV Vulkan Driver
  • Vulkan 1.0.64 Adds In Another AMD-Developed Extension
    Vulkan 1.0.64 is out this weekend as the newest specification refinement to this high-performance graphics/compute API. As usual, most of the changes for this minor Vulkan revision are just documentation clarifications and corrections. This week's update brings just under a dozen fixes.
  • NVIDIA TX2 / Tegra186 Display Support Isn't Ready For Linux 4.15
    While the Jetson TX2 has been out since this past March and it's a phenomenal ARM development board, sadly the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver support for it still isn't ready with the mainline Linux kernel. Thierry Reding of NVIDIA sent in the Tegra DRM driver changes for DRM-Next that in turn is staged for Linux 4.15. Reding commented that there is prepatory work for the TX2 (Tegra186) but it's not all ready for upstream yet.